Italy not neutral, we're coherent US ally - Gentiloni (3)
Can't choose between Atlantic alliance-Russia 'case-by-case'
17 Aprile 2018
Rome, April 17 - Premier Paolo Gentiloni told the Lower House on Tuesday that the fact Italy did not actively take part in the United States-led air strikes in Syria does not mean it is neutral. "Italy is not a neutral country, one that choose on a case-by-case basis whether to side with the Atlantic alliance or Russia," he said. "It is a coherent ally of the United States and not starting with this or that American administration, of Kennedy or Nixon, Reagan or Clinton, Bush or Obama. "We have chosen sides". Gentiloni said that the air strikes by the United States, France and Great Britain in Syria were "a justified, targeted and limited response" to alleged chemical weapon attacks by the Assad regime on its own people. "There are no indications of civilian victims or of collateral damage. "The response was coordinated with the actors present to avoid civilian victims". Italy only provided logistical support, via the Aviano air base, to the strikes on Syria, Gentiloni said. He stressed no "direct action aimed at hitting Syrian territory" had come from Italian territory. The Russian veto at the United Nations blocks establishing the truth about the suspected Syrian regime chemical weapons attack on the Syrian town of Douma, Gentiloni said. "The city of Douma, which was the last stronghold of the rebels, was the target of an attack in which according to all evidence the use of chemical weapons was repeated: probably chlorine mixed with sarin or similar agents" he said. "Various sources have confirmed dozens of dead and hundreds of injured. "But we have the certainty, unfortunately, that following Russia's veto on the (UN) Security Council's proposal, the initiative to establish the truth and responsibilities has been blocked. Gentiloni said "I think we can't accept going back 100 years to the end of the First World War and again legitimise the use of chemical weapons, we cannot accept it".